Playoff Scenarios: Columbus Crew, Orlando City clinch playoff berths

Columbus Crew SC and Orlando City joined Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference playoff field in Week 19, with TFC giving both a helping hand.

They are the only four MLS teams to qualify for the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs thus far with just three weeks left in the season.

Heading into their Week 19 matches, both Columbus and Orlando needed Toronto to get at least a point against Atlanta United to clinch; a draw in Toronto-Atlanta would mean both the Crew and Lions would have to win their own games, while a Toronto win would mean both teams would simply need to draw.

Orlando clinch first-ever playoff berth

Orlando City were stunned in stoppage time at Red Bull Arena, conceding a 1-1 equalizer and watching a win slip out of their hands.

But not too long after that turn of events, Toronto scored a late goal of their own to beat Atlanta and give Orlando their long-awaited first playoff berth in their sixth season in the league.

Crew SC back in postseason

The final result in the Toronto match meant that Columbus were back in the postseason after missing out on the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs last year. Crew SC took care of business in their match, snapping a four-match winless streak to dispatch NYCFC 3-1. 

Columbus sported the best record in MLS for most of the season and although they've seen Toronto overtake them in the East, they remain one of the strongest sides with the prospects of having the influential Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan back in time for the postseason.

Four qualified from East

A total of 10 teams will make the postseason in the East with the bottom four seeds featuring in a play-in round.

Both Orlando and Columbus will now aim to head into the playoffs as one of the top six seeds in the East to ensure they bypass that play-in round. A top four finish guarantees a home game in Round 1. A top two finish will secure a matchup against one of the play-in round winners.

Toronto FC were the first MLS team to qualify for the postseason on October 11 with Philadelphia following three days later.